MTV and radio airplay of single 'Until The Day I Die' as well as relentless
touring (including a high profile Linkin Park support slot) have steadily
built the band's profile, culminating in an Alternative Press cover
feature and headline slot on this year's Warped Tour.
With the USA well
and truly smitten, world domination is surely next on the list. Black
Velvet caught up with bassist Adam Russell on a gorgeously sunny day
in Manchester; prior to the band's second ever show outside of the United
States. Backstage at the tiny Academy 3, Adam explained that although
the internet has undoubtedly helped get them where they are today, he
can see the positive and negative sides of the illegal downloading debate.
"There is definitely a line to be drawn. I mean it obviously helps
a lot. We might not have the kind of attendance we have at our shows
had we not been downloaded millions of times, but it's stealing regardless
as far as I'm concerned. I download music and I go to Amazon.com and
listen to streaming audio and get samples, but if I love a band, even
if I just like a band a little bit I buy the record. I want to support
the bands because if you don't buy records bands won't be around. With
the Apple music stuff now, if you just want one song you can go and
spend 99 cents and get one song. I mean it's not expensive, especially
for music as far as I'm concerned.
The bassist's most
recent purchases include 'Get A Grip' by Aerosmith (one of the first
bands he ever saw live,) some Pantera and Metallica, "The first
record I ever bought outside of what my parents listen to". A huge
Metallica fan, tonight's show even features a surprisingly accurate
cover of 'Enter Sandman' for the encore, complete with over the top
rock star posturing and mass crowd surfing from both band and audience.
"We're all big metalheads," confesses Adam. "We tried
to get Sebastian Bach from Skid Row to sing on 'Page Avenue' but he
was doing Phantom Of The Opera or something like that". Despite
failing to enlist the vocal talents of the temperamental 80's frontman,
'Page Avenue' does however feature a collaboration with Toby Morse from
H2O on the album's closer, 'Falling Down', the most 'punk' cut on the
full length. Fans of this track will be blown away by new song 'The
Heart Of Polka Is Still Beating' which is available for download at
Story Of The Year's website. Definitely worth checking out.
Also worth taking
a good look at online is the entertaining PETA website www.peta2.com,
visitors to which may recognise the bassist from his extensive work
with the animal rights group, alongside bands such as Good Charlotte
and Simple Plan. We asked vegan straightedge Adam about getting involved
with PETA and the recent (Black Velvet reviewed) Concert For Compassion,
and although it transpired animal rights is not a cause uniting all
of the members of Story Of The Year, it is certainly a cause Russell
himself holds very close to his heart.
How big a part
does animal rights play in the band?
small part. I'm the only vegan or vegetarian so it's kinda hard. I hang
out by myself a lot, eating at vegetarian restaurants, stuff like that."
How did you get involved with PETA?
me. Actually I have a friend that up until a couple of weeks ago worked
at PETA and he always tries to keep me in the loop with them."
How much do you
think the Concert For Compassion helped the Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty
"It was all
non-profit; no-one got paid anything. It was all charity to raise money
to shut down Huntington. I think it definitely helps but it seems like
it's just a never ending uphill battle, but everything helps a little
bit, it just takes time."
Adam has also been
on protests with Black Velvet favourite John Feldmann of Goldfinger,
who produced 'Page Avenue', helped get Story Of The Year signed and
took them on their first national tour. Feldmann probably regretted
offering the band a support slot after the Missouri quintet decided
to 'enhance' the headliners set a few weeks into the tour.
"I took a
full pack of firecrackers and threw it underneath Darrin while he was
playing drums. It was at the quietest possible part in the whole set
and they went off and went through all the microphones. John was freaking
out; he thought the PA blew up or something. Darrin thought it was hilarious
but once John found out he was pissed because he's a real control freak
when it comes to their shows. He almost kicked us off the tour, but
I apologised and we laughed about it."
Not that Goldfinger's
live shows need any 'enhancing' of course. Neither do Story Of The Year's
for that matter. 'Page Avenue' sounds ten times bigger live, even the
most high tech of studio equipment failing to capture just how powerful
and anthemic the tracks sound onstage. 'Until The Day I Die' and 'Sidewalks'
inspire mass crowd singalongs that would put Dashboard Confessional
to shame. It's amazing how loud (and in tune) the 400 strong audience
It's not just the
songs that are impressive onstage. Lively, charismatic and for want
of a better word
fun, all five members prove just why they consider
themselves more of a live band; amp climbing, instrument swapping, crowd
surfing, even crowd surfing whilst playing guitar! All of this plus
enough running around onstage to make you dizzy just watching. However,
such an energetic live show does not come without a price, the band
collecting an impressive range of injuries. Adam explains, "I tore
ligaments in my ankle, Ryan has really bad shin splints that won't go
away, and Phil has a torn hamstring. We always hit each other with our
instruments, we're always hurt, it sucks."
Story Of The Year plan to return to the UK again later this year before
starting work on the new album, studio time pencilled in for January
2005. The way things are going at the moment it can only be a matter
of time before the Story Of The Year play venues and festivals they
have only ever read about in Metallica biographies!
Visit www.storyoftheyear.net for more info.